Our A-Level chemists engaged in an exciting and educational trip last week as they visited Quotient Sciences in Alnwick. This allowed them to delve into the world of pharmaceutical development and gain hands-on experience in a scientific workplace.

During the visit, our students were privileged to spend time with principal scientists at Quotient Sciences, gaining valuable insights into the processes and technologies used in the development of medicines. They had the chance to observe a variety of laboratory-based activities, where ground-breaking research involving first-in-class active pharmaceutical ingredients is successfully carried out; importantly (and perhaps the most exciting part of the visit), the students were fortunate enough to gain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art instrumentation which is fundamental to their A-level chemistry studies.

One notable piece of equipment that left a lasting impression on the students was the NMR spectrometer, a highly sophisticated and expensive instrument worth approximately £1 million. This spectrometer plays a pivotal role in Quotient Science’s research and is crucial for understanding the molecular structure of compounds, which is essential in drug development. As part of the visit, we discussed the principles of the techniques and then acquired data using a sample of paracetamol. Some of our students placed the sample of paracetamol in the superconducting magnet.

During the visit our students were introduced to two employees at Quotient Sciences, who had studied chemistry and sciences at JCSC; both have been working at the Alnwick site for approximately five years, and had successfully been promoted into positions of Team Leaders. One of the ex-JCSC students led a team of Quality Control analytical scientists, which was responsible for ensuring the highest quality of products before being used in clinical studies. Another ex-JCSC student was responsible for a group of Manufacturing Scientists, who actually made the products in a highly regulated environment for use in clinical studies. This serves as an inspiring example of how local students can achieve their career aspirations and potentially find a path to employment within the company.

James Calvert Spence College would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to Quotient Sciences for sharing their time and expertise with the students. This educational visit was a remarkable opportunity for the budding scientists at James Calvert Spence College to gain insights into the world of pharmaceutical research and to witness first-hand the exciting possibilities that lie ahead in the field of chemistry and related sciences.

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